BY: T. Cherie Miller, Certified Wellness Coach
The word cancer is a scary subject to talk about. By nature, discussing health issues is unpleasant; however the topic is real and extremely important. This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month – the perfect time to understand how early detection, lowering our risks, knowing the signs and symptoms, and being aware of this disease can help save our life and those we love.
Here are some quick facts:
- According to The Center for Disease Control, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.
- It is reported that one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is not something that only happens after menopause, many women are getting diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.
- Although rare, men too, can develop breast cancer.
How can we lower our risk of breast cancer?
Although, there’s no cure for breast cancer – there are things we can do to lower our risk
- Know your family history and communicate that information to your doctor. Remember you are in partnership with your doctor so equip him or her with all the information you have.
- Control your weight by eating well and keeping active. This is a risk factor in almost all health issues so we must do it.
- Absolutely no smoking. If you smoke – STOP!
- Be aware of your alcohol intake. I’m not suggesting you remove the joy of having your favorite cocktail every once in a while, just be mindful of how much you are consuming. Alcohol contains sugar which contributes to excess fat, thus weight gain.
What are some of the symptoms of breast cancer?
Please know that early detection of breast cancer is very important for treatment and survival of life. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC., we should be aware of the following symptoms and consult with our doctor if:
- A lump around the breast and/or under the arm develops.
- There’s a change in the nipple appearance (inverted, discharging, etc).
- The skin around the breast appears different (swollen, dimpling, texture).
- The breast or nipple is tender or painful for no reason.
- The breast or nipple becomes scale-like and red.
How do we check for the signs of breast cancer?
- Get to know your ta-tas! Do breast self-exams monthly.
- Discuss with your doctor when you should start getting yearly mammograms.
- Look at yourself daily. This is the only way of knowing if your breast or nipples have changed in appearance.
We all must take charge of our health by…
- Educating ourselves.
- Being aware of the signs and symptoms.
- Going with our instinct if something does not feel or look right.
- Know your family health history.
- Get your yearly checkups for mammograms, clinical breast exams, and physicals.
- And perform breast self-exams monthly.
Taking these small steps can save your life!